4 Things You’ve Been Missing If You Haven’t Been Watching the Sixers

Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Sixers have started off their season 0-4, as many figured, and there’s been some good, some bad, and some very ugly. Jahlil Okafor is already establishing himself as a pro talent, an undrafted free agent is keeping the team together, and Jerami Grant is making some terrible decisions.

1. T.J. McConnell

T.J. McConnell might look like your cousin who you’re pretty sure still works at that gas station, but the kid can play. As an undrafted free agent, he’s accumulated 32 assists in his first four career games, which is more than Jason Kidd, Michael Carter-Williams, Gary Payton, Elfrid Payton, and Kenny Smith through their first four games. If you break it down to assists per minute (since McConnell played a lot fewer minutes than many of the others on the list), he’s a better assister through his first four career games than John Wall, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby, Nick Van Exel, and Damian Lillard. Not terrible company in that super small sample size. Last night’s 7/12/9 line was the first of its kind (at least 7 points, 10 assists, 8 rebounds) by a player in his first four games since Jason Kidd’s 10/11/9 in 1994.

He’s shooting .529 from the floor (on only 17 shots), and has only 7 turnovers to go with those 32 assists. At times, he even looks Nash-ian. It’s very early, but the Sixers may have found a pass-first point guard worth sticking with for a little while.

2. Jahlil Okafor

As Kyle pointed out earlier, Jahlil Okafor has come out of the gate showing off his NBA caliber skills [editor’s note: tempted to use post skills, but there’s so much more than that]. Using the same first-four-games qualifier, Okafor’s 81 points puts him in some incredible company:

okafor 80

And (small sample size warning about everything here) his free throw shooting, thought to be his biggest offensive weakness, is sitting above 80%. McConnell may be the glue that’s holding the team together on the floor, but Okafor is the actual team.

3. Jerami Grant

What happened? He’s flailing around on defense, making terrible decisions on offense, and just looks generally lost out there, which is to say, he looks like a Sixer. At least five times – twice, frustratingly, at the home opener – Grant has gotten the ball close to the rim, in traffic, while standing still, and gone up for some kind of poorly planned tomahawk slam. Every. Single. Time. He does this. And every time the ball has been forced from his child-like clutches. There is zero photographic evidence of it on USA Today, Getty, or Twitter. I assume that’s because it’s too ugly and embarrassing (Jerami, your dunk attempts, woof). But be on the lookout. I’m sure you can catch three or four more before he gets a handle on things.

4. Missing Open Threes

With Okafor as the only consistent scoring option down low, the rookie been getting double-teamed frequently right off of the bat. Add his his skills as a passer into that, and the Sixers should be seeing (and nailing) a ton of open threes. But if you check out Twitter during any game, you’d think Hollis Thompson is a card-carrying member of Local 1 with all of the bricks he’s laying.

I am a Hollis Thompson defender. The dude shot 40.1% from three in his first two seasons in the league. He’ll be in some good company if he does that again this year. But he’s streaky. He seems to miss more wide-open threes than he makes, and it stands out. But, that might just be the eye-test.

When defenders are 4-6 feet away – that’s considered “open” – the Sixers hit 26% of their three-point attempts. That’s 7th-worst in the NBA. Overall from behind the arc, they’re shooting 30% (8th worst). But when defenders are more than 6 feet away – considered “wide open” – they’re shooting 44%, 8th best in the NBA. 79% of the Sixers’ 3PT attempts are some form of “open,” which is bad enough for 8th worst in the league. All this is a way of saying that the Sixers are hitting their wide open threes, but they don’t get that many chances to do so.

In the next few games the Sixers face off against the Cavaliers and then the Magic, Bulls, and Raptors. See you back here when they’re 1-7.

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19 Comments

  • Please Go Away November 5, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    It’s a complete embarrassment you use a 4 game sample size to compare him to “John Wall, Damon Stoudamire, Mike Bibby, Nick Van Exel, and Damian Lillard.” Just stop.

    Reply
  • Tom Selleck November 5, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    meanwhile yesterday on PST, Marcus Hayes says that he doesn’t belong in the NBA but Canaan does, I wonder why…

    Reply
    • Bob November 5, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Because Marcus Hayes is a n1gger rrrrrr?

      Reply
      • Rev. mikey miss November 5, 2015 at 4:55 pm

        Kyle i would really like to know what awful word i used to have my comment deleted???

        Reply
  • johnmatrix November 5, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    WHY ALL THE LOVE FOR THE SIXERS THAT SUCK, BUT NO LOVE FOR THE PHILLIES THAT SUCK? THEY PHILLIES HAVE SOME YOUNG STARS TOO

    Reply
  • that guy November 5, 2015 at 3:15 pm

    Do yourself a favor, grab some dog poop, preferably fresh. Throw it at your computer screen. Watch it slowly trickle down. Way more entertaining and enlightening than this.

    Reply
  • Dead Air Dave November 5, 2015 at 3:53 pm

    You forgot one:

    5) Shitty basketball

    Reply
  • Fire Rob Ellis November 5, 2015 at 4:03 pm

    Since I couldn’t care less about the Sixers, one thing that’s really bothering me is the way the media is treating this football team. First off, yes they have been struggling this year. But the way they cover this team is the reason there’s such a negative feeling from the fanbase. The media claims to be the voice of the fans. First off that’s not true. The media is a self serving entity that is all about themselves and what story they can get out there. They crush Chip everyday for being “snarky”. I would be too if a bunch of old out of shape guys questioned everything about me and my personal life ever since I arrived. They refuse to acknowledge the money aspect of all his off season moves. Everything that is being reported is being perceived as negative when in reality it’s no different than the Reid era. He got killed weekly for not saying anything either. But the reason is simple. Every senior member of the media is waiting for Chip to fail because they are all conditioned to believe the old way is the only way. Will they be right in the long run? Time will tell. But their self serving reporting and coverage from radio hosts has done nothing but kill anything positive towards a team fighting for a playoff spot.

    Reply
    • Rev. mikey miss November 5, 2015 at 5:01 pm

      I love how Chip gets crushed for being “snarky” but name me one Beat writer or media member in this city who isn’t a snarky asshole themselves. Do yourself a favor and stop reading them and stop listening to sports radio, they are the equivalent of the fat chicks in high school sitting around the lunchroom cafeteria making fun of the girls all the guys wanted to fuck

      Reply
    • TS November 5, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      finally, a voice of reason!!!

      Reply
    • Rob E November 5, 2015 at 10:14 pm

      +1

      Reply
  • Love to Motorboat Ava Graham's Tits November 5, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I would have said 4 wins. There 37-131 in 3 yrs so I guess that doesn’t matter. With Hinkie and the worse owners in the history of the NBA. Not trying to win games wrecks the integrity of the game. Until the Commissioner cleans those owners out. There is no NBA in Philadelphia

    Reply
  • Logical Voice November 5, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    Loving the Sixers. I am amazed how well McConnell has played. I have to admit I did not see it coming. Really disappointed in Hollis. Once they get Wroten, Marshall & Covington back you will begin to see how it is forming.

    Reply
    • Amen November 6, 2015 at 9:08 am

      I can’t stand watching Tony Wroten play. That dude is terrible.

      Reply
  • Bryan November 5, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    Upvote

    Reply
  • ron jaworski fuckin sux November 5, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    “Randall Cunningham was better than John Elway” JAWORSKI IS A FUCKIN. IDIOT.jaworski was always will be a third rate quarterback who went to one super bowl. And the Raiders handed his ass to him. And now he is a slave for the products he tries to pawn off and also a talking dummy for ESPN.. He watches so much game film but a thirteen year old girl can break an NFL game better than he does. Same with his girlfriend joe decamra. Jaworski has not done anything in his career for him to run his mouth about shit he knows nothing about but. Fuckin PHILLY STILL PARADES HIS ASS AROUND LIKE HE WON SOMETHING. I rather listen to rich Gannon or matt. Hasselbeck or jake delhomme that did the same thing he did. JAWORSKI IS A FRAUD AND

    Reply
    • Rev. mikey miss November 5, 2015 at 9:31 pm

      Remember like a year ago when Espn had nothing to talk about, so Jaws said that Kaepernick has the ability to become the best quarterback ever….how the fuck can you take that guy seriously anymore?

      Reply
    • jd November 6, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Did you actually listen to what jaws said, I heard the same broadcast and he stated that randall has as much talent as John Elway. At no point did he say RC was better the John Elway. He was talking about the first time he saw him in camp and how impressed he was with his physical skills. And if you think Randall did not have as much physical skills as another qb in the league at the time you are clueless. If you are going to rip the guy at least have your facts straight. Also, say what you want about jaws and decamra but at least they actually take the time to watch the tape break it down and then offer analysis. Even if disagree with them they at least take thier craft serious and put the time in. When do you think was the last time cataldi, miss, innes or any of these other loudmouths actually watched the all 22 or even a replay of the game.

      Reply
      • Amen November 6, 2015 at 9:11 am

        Still… a ridiculous comment to make. If he actually thought that at one point, he shouldn’t have admitted to it in national TV.

        Has that dweeb Marks been canned yet? That dude sucks out loud.

        Reply

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